General Organic Chemistry I (with Virtual Laboratory)

CHEM 281/3.0

Chemist hands managing substance


An introduction to the basic principles of organic chemistry with emphasis on bonding, stereochemistry, reaction intermediates and reaction mechanisms, and structure-reactivity correlations. Intended for students in biological and life sciences. Students in chemistry or biochemistry programs should not enrol in this course.

Learning Outcomes

Textbook sections covered

A. What is an Organic Molecule?
1.1-1.8Lewis Structures (review)
1.17Structural Formulas
1.9-1.15Molecular Geometry: Quantum Mechanical Model (review)
2.1-2.2Hydrocarbons ("the skeleton")
2.3-2.4Polar and Non-Polar Compounds
2.5-2.12Functional Groups ("the organs") 
2.13-2.15Physical Properties and Intermolecular Forces
B. Organic Reactions: General Principles
3.1Organic Reaction Mechanisms
3.2-3.15Acid-Base Reactions
C. Stereochemistry I: Conformational Analysis
4.1-4.2, 4.7-4.9Conformational Analysis of Alkanes
4.10-4.15Conformational Analysis of Cycloalkanes
D. Stereochemistry II: Chirality
5.2-5.6Chirality and Enantiomers
5.7, 7.2Nomenclature: R/S and E/Z systems
5.8-5.9Optical Activity
5.11-5.14More than One Stereocenter: Enantiomers and Diastereomers
5.15-5.18More and Chirality: Separation of Enantiomers
E. How to Make Organic Molecules? Nucleophilic Substitution and Elimination Reactions
6.1-6.4Nucleophilic Substitution Reactions
6.5-6.8The Mechanism of SN2 Reactions
6.9-6.12The Mechanism of SN1 Reactions
6.13SN1 vs. SN2
6.14, 7.10-7.12Functional Group Transformations via Substitution
E. How to Make Organic Molecules? Nucleophilic Substitution and Elimination Reactions (continued)
6.15-6.17Elimination Reactions: E1 & E2
6.18-6.19Substitution vs. Elimination
7.3-7.8Making Alkenes via Elimination Reactions
7.9Making Alkynes via Elimination Reactions
11.14SN1 and SN2 Reactions with Epoxides
F. Addition to Alkenes and Alkynes; Alcohols and Ethers
7.13-7.14Addition to Alkenes: Hydrogenation
8.1-8.6Addition to Alkenes: Markonikov's Rule
8.7-8.11Hydroboration-Oxidation: Anti-Markovnikov syn Hydration
8.12-8.14, 8.18-8.19Electrophilic Addition of Halogens to Alkenes and Alkynes
8.16-8.18, 8.20, 11.13Oxidation of Alkenes and Alkynes, Alkene Epoxidation
11.4-11.12Alcohols and Ethers: Reactivity and Synthesis


Summer (May–June) 2024
Course Dates
Exam Dates (if applicable)
Delivery Mode


20% - WileyPLUS 
20% - Virtual Labs
20% - Midterm Exam 
40% - Proctored Final Exam

Students require a 50% overall to pass the course totalled from all course components and must attempt all assessments of significant course weighting.

**Evaluation Subject to Change **

Live Sessions

This course has optional live sessions (e.g. webinars, synchronous activities).

Final Examination (Students must pass the exam to pass the course) 

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.

Exam Preparation

A trial midterm exam with answers will be posted after Week 3 along with solutions so students can monitor their progress. The exams will not be marked but there will be online tutorials devoted to them. The online mastery assignments in WileyPLUS will also allow students to identify their strong and weak areas as the course progresses.

Proctored Exams  
Exam Centre Location, Eligibility, and Fees  

Students enrolled exclusively in online courses may choose one of two options to write this course’s proctored assessments:  

  1. You may choose to write the assessments online under supervision of Examity proctoring services. A $100 fee will be charged to your SOLUS account. This fee is known as the Off Campus Exam Admin Fee and is applied in SOLUS at the earlier of: term tuition posting date, or the date at which exam writing method is changed to online. The fee is assessed once per ASO course with proctored assessments.  
  2. You may choose to write the assessments in-person on Queen’s campus in Kingston at no additional charge.  

Students enrolled in at least one on-campus course are expected to write this course’s proctored assessments on-campus during the scheduled exam time. They will not be permitted to write this course’s proctored assessments online.

Students were prompted to indicate their preferred exam writing method when enrolling in the course in SOLUS. The exam writing method may be changed by contacting the ASO Exams Team at  

Information for students writing online assessments using Examity

Selected assessments in this course will be administered in onQ using online proctoring provided by Examity, a third-party, cloud-based service. This proctoring solution was chosen to support our efforts in maintaining academic integrity when online proctoring is required. Queen’s has conducted an extensive privacy and security review of Examity and has entered into a binding agreement with terms that address the appropriate collection, use and disclosure of personal information in accordance with Ontario’s privacy legislation. To learn more about online proctoring, please see the information provided by the Office of the University Registrar.  

If you registered to write online with Examity, all information pertaining to the technical requirements and preparation for writing online will be posted in onQ well in advance of your exam. 

The use of Examity as described is unique to courses offered by the Faculty of Arts and Science Online. Other Faculties use online proctoring solutions in different ways under different regulations. Students should  contact the appropriate Faculty examination team if they have questions.  

Timing of Final Examinations  

The exam period dates for each Term are listed on the Faculty of Arts and Science webpage under "Important Dates". Student exam schedules for the Fall Term are posted to SOLUS immediately prior to the Thanksgiving holiday; for the Winter Term they are posted on the Friday before Reading Week, and for the Summer Term they are individually noted on the Arts and Science Online syllabi. Students should not make any travel plans until after the examination schedule has been posted. Exams will not be moved or deferred to accommodate employment, travel/holiday plans or flight reservations. Students experiencing extenuating circumstances preventing them from writing their exams as scheduled should review the information about the Academic Consideration process

Textbook and Materials

ASO reserves the right to make changes to the required material list as received by the instructor before the course starts. Please refer to the Campus Bookstore website at to obtain the most up-to-date list of required materials for this course before purchasing them.

Textbook Package


  • Organic Chemistry, Solomons and Fryhle, 13th ed. (Wiley)
  • Study Guide and Solutions Manual
  • Molecular Models
  • WileyPLUS online code to access digital textbook (may be purchased as part of textbook package or separately).

The following materials are available in the Queen's onQ online course site:


  • An electronic virtual lab guide will be provided

Course Guide

The Course Guide contains the overall directions and lecture notes needed to complete the course. It is available online in the onQ virtual learning environment. Beginning the first day of term, students registered in the course will be able to access course materials in a format suitable for online reading or printing.

Recommended Materials

  • Organic Laboratory Techniques, Fessenden, Fessenden and Feist, 3rd ed. (Brooks/Cole)
  • Organic Chemistry I as a Second Language: Translating the Basic Concepts, David R. Klein.
    • Wiley E-Text
      • Organic Chemistry I As a Second Language: First Semester Topics, 3rd Edition 
        ISBN : 978-1-118-20377-4, 400 pages, August 2011, ©2012, CDN $31.00   BUY
    • Paperback
      • Organic Chemistry I As a Second Language: First Semester Topics, 3rd Edition
        ISBN : 978-1-118-01040-2, 400 pages, June 2011, ©2012, CDN $55.95   BUY

Time Commitment

Students are advised to allow at least 16.5 hours per week (108 hours total) to complete all components of the course (online assignments, virtual labs, online tutorials, reading, and practice problems). This is the minimum suggested time.

Course notes and readings6.5 hours/week (approx 2.2 units/week @ 3 hours/unit
WileyPLUS, assignments and other activities6.5 hours/week (approx 2.2 units/week @ 3 hours/unit)
Virtual Tutorials3 hours/week for each of the 6 weekly tutorials
Virtual Labs2 hours/week (4 labs @ 3 hours/lab over 6 weeks)
Total:16.5-18 hours/week


"This is the best course I've taken online, even though it has been the most challenging. The reasons is the amount of attention given and assistance provided. Interaction makes for a great learning environment. It's difficult to have this level of interaction with an online course, but Dr. Carran and his TAs are incredible at providing a positive learning environment."
- Course evaluation, CHEM 281: General Organic Chemistry I (2014)


Additional Information

NOTE: Molecular model set $25.